Moab’s Last Hurrah (at least until next season)

28 10 2008

View of Castleton Towers, photo by Claire Fisher

It’s just about that time to give my mountain bike its final scrub down for the season, but not without caking my chain with little red dirt, first.
Moab, in my opinion, is the best in October. It’s about 80 degrees and emits that type of sunshine that makes your faded tan feel like August again. And right about now, when it’s getting cold in Denver, Summit County is snow-capped, A-Basin is open, and the Front Range is no longer lit after work, there’s nothing better than a weekend in the desert. Not to mention that in October, Moab is bustling with outdoor enthusiast’ favorites like 24 Hours of Moab or the Moab Half Marathon. I wish I could say I was the only person who felt this sort of adoration for my October Moab. But when we arrived late last Thursday night, I discovered it was not so, as every single campsite in Sand Flats was full. So tip Number 1 for your weekend Moab getaway – don’t arrive at 1 in the morning expecting to set up camp in that spot right under the “eye cave”. You know what  I’m talking about.
Thankfully, there are people out there that camp in Moab during the week and leave on Friday. To you folks, I am not writing, for I am jealous that you have graduated from Weekend Warrior, to All-The-Time Warrior. For the rest of us who are lucky enough to get that coveted 9:80 Friday off, getting to Moab after work Thursday is a great way to get a full weekend in, just plan to sleep at a temporary campsite (aka poach).

Storm over the La Sals, photo by Jamie Givens

So here’s my scoop on trail conditions:
The Whole Enchilada: You can catch a shuttle at Poison Spider (497 N. Main St., 435-259-7882) for $20 cash. They will shuttle you as far up as Hazard County right now for the scrambled-brain descend into Porcupine Rim via UPS Trail. Call for weather updates, these guys will be honest and take you as far up as they can. They said there has been snow sporadically on the trail, but you may catch it on a clear day. It’s getting late in the season, so if you’re hoping for a 2008 Whole Enchilada, you’re time is limited. From Hazard back to the shop, this adventure is 27 miles and an expert ride, or great for intermediates to really get a feeling for what a full-suspension can handle. And make sure you catch the new bike path along 128 in the Canyon. It cuts out an annoying road climb and is smooth and glorious after a hard day of bumping and grinding.

Sandy Beach on Colorado River,
Photo by Jamie Givens

Things I love about shuttling Porcupine Rim:

  • Catching the shuttle at 8:30 or 10 and being finished by happy hour.
  • Having Mavericks’ (the gas station next door to Poison Spider) famous breakfast of coffee and those dough things with egg, sausage and cheese. Yum.
  • Getting those honey snacks at Poison Spider. Highly recommended over Cliff Shots, though I still think Cliff Shots’ energy boost is far superior.
  • Listening to an entire album by N.W.A on the hour bus-ride to the top of the trail. I was certainly amped for some seat-dropping fun after that.
  • Catching a $5 shower at Poison Spider or Moab Cyclery (391 S. Main St., 435.259.7423).

My favorite campsite:
Camping is $10 a night at the Sand Flats Recreational Area, the area surrounding the Slick Rock Trail Head. ( There are tons  of campsites in and around the Moab area, but I like this best because it’s near all the bike trails.

Dewey Bridge Burning, photo from

PS: Did you know that the historical Dewey Bridge burnt down earlier this year? It was built in 1916 and was modernly used as part of the epic Kokopelli trail. More pictures of the burning bridge.

For more info: For any and all information about Moab go to